Manchester United coaches visit Super League club to see inner workings of a rugby league team

The likes of Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and of course the Champions St Helens, league leaders Catalans Dragons and second place Leigh Leopards are all dreaming of Old Trafford.

The Theatre of Dreams and the home to the 20 time Champions of English football Manchester United.

It is also home to one of the biggest sporting institutions in the world but this week they had a look at a Super League side.

Castleford Tigers welcomed coaches from Manchester United’s Foundation to Wheldon Road yesterday for a look at what really goes on within the camp of a Super League Rugby team.

College coaches from Man Utd aimed to gain some insight into coaching methods and the intensity of the training at Wheldon Road to really hone their coaching skills and pick up tips that they can add to their coaching styles. Based at Salford City College in Eccles, the Foundation plays host to courses for school leavers looking to create a pathway in the sport of Football, much like the pathway system installed at the Tigers.

Former professional turned Coach, Russell Beardsmore, attended the day with three other staff members to get a feel for the environment and quizzed head coach Andy Last, and Director of Rugby Danny Wilson.

“It’s a totally different game but we’re here to gain more knowledge and help us with our coaching styles. We’re looking at Rugby and how it develops each team. Not just training but team meetings. We’ve been lucky enough to sit in on some of the First team meetings today. It was good to get more insight into the psychology of sport, and everything around it how it differs from football.”

“It gives us a different outlook for our coaching abilities, and we’ll take things back with us and implement them within our coaching.”

Having been a Manchester United fan and host in hospitality on matchday’s at Old Trafford as an ex-player, Beardsmore explained his connection with Castleford, and how they came to be invited down to the club to gain some brilliant insights.

“I know Jordan Turner because he’s a big red. He got hold of Danny Wilson to ask the question. Danny then kindly spoke to the gaffer Andy Last and that’s how we were invited in. It’s been really eye opening and really interesting getting to see all of the aspects of training, the meetings and the psychology around Rugby League.”

“We managed to sit down for an hour with Danny and Andy. We’ve bombarded him with loads of questions but it’s been really interesting. It might be a different sport but a lot of things cross over. Motivation is a big key. We asked and looked into how teams cope when they’re not winning, asking if it’s on a low or on a level and how you motivate them players to motivate themselves.”

Although the Sports differ, Beardsmore acknowledged the similarities of training and the mentality of what it takes to be a professional athlete. He valued the experience of being invited down to Cas, and gained something from what he had witnessed that he will take back with him to Manchester.

“I would take away from Cas that you’ve got to train as you play. Hopefully Cas win this week, that’s the key! They were sharp in training. I usually say to our students that you can’t train half-hearted and then think you can turn it on in a game. Watching the lads train, the intensity was brilliant. I know there’s not a lot of time between games to prepare nowadays and there’s a lot of physical contact with the Rugby, but I’ll definitely take back that you’ve got to train hard and have that revert into your games.”